Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Natural Soap

Is your soap all natural?  This question has become the most asked question of me!  I wish there was a simple answer.  It all depends on your definition of all natural!  If you can believe it, the term is completely unregulated.

In my personal opinion, any soap that uses fragrance oil (ah - most of mine!) is not natural.  Fragrance oils are man-made.  They are made for using in soap and are skin safe but not "natural".  Therefore any soap I make containing fragrance oil cannot be considered natural in my book.

What about micas and oxides?  Aren't they natural?  While you can get micas and oxides directly from nature, what you get is often times impure and has contaminants in it.  The skin safe, made for soaping and cosmetics, micas and oxides I use are man-made.  They are 'nature like' but more pure.  Given that, I do not consider any soap I make using micas or oxides to be natural.

Another ingredient that is a sticky wicket for me is the lye.  You cannot make soap without lye.  Don't let anyone fool you with their "lye free" claims.  If they are selling a melt and pour type of soap, there was still lye added to the soap; they just didn't do it.  But don't let lye scare you.  If you are using a proper soap recipe, there is no lye left in the final product.  It has magically disappeared through something called saponification.  Anyway, lye today is man-made as well.  Yes, I could go out to my fire pit and collect ashes and make soap that way but it is very uncontrolled compared to man-made, pure lye.  Think back to grandma's red hands from using her likely lye-heavy soap she made!  Even after all that, I still consider soaps that contain man-made lye (ummm all of them!) to be natural.  The reason for me wavering on this ingredient is because there is no lye left in the soap once cured whereas the fragrance oils and micas are still there.

OK, Tracy.  Do you make any "all natural" soaps according to your definition?  YES!  Look for soaps that are made with essential oils and botanicals as colorants such as lemon peel powder or hibiscus powder. 

It is my belief that some soapers use a different definition of "all natural" than I do and therefore you could be purchasing soap with a fragrance oil and yet they are calling it "all natural"; they will use micas or oxides to color their soap and yet they call it "all natural".  I am not out to police other soapers, my job is to do what I believe is correct.  For me, that is only using the term "all natural" when I use an essential oil to scent my soap (or no scent at all) and natural botanicals to color my soap (or no color at all).

So, if you ask me if ALL my soaps are "all natural" the answer is no.  Some are, most aren't.  But, the fragrances and colorants I use are skin safe and made for soaping.  I do not add detergents or hardeners like some commercial soaps have in them.  Handcrafted, cold process soap retains its natural glycerin where as commercial soaps have it removed to sell as a separate product.  This is why so many commercial soaps are drying to the skin.

I love fragrance oils to scent my soaps as there are so many more options than essential oils.  I love essential oils too but I am much more limited in terms of scents and they are somewhat cost prohibitive.  I will continue to soap with both and attempt to give everyone something they are happy with!  Even my fragrance oil/mica soaps are 95% pure according to my definition!

Now, go wash your hands!


P.S.  I have a section in my shop called Essential Oil/Unscented Soap where you can find these soaps.  A couple of the essential oil soaps have mica in them - if you want "All Natural" soap, look for those words in the title of the soap.  I have more coming very soon!


  1. Thanks for the clarification and definitions! I am going to share this on FB and Twitter. This was a great learning experience!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it Tonette! Thanks for sharing. tracy